Members of the Ateker community have been challenged to unite and abandon cattle rustling conflict because of their shared common ancestry.
County executive committee member for Tourism and Culture Charles Lokiyoto said that members of the Ateker community stand to benefit alot from grazing land, watering points and other resources within if they could embrace each other.
CECM Lokiyoto assured participants of Turkana County government commitment to cement peace and unity through regular meeting and holding of cultural celebration like the Tobong Loree that he said reminds people of their ancestral ties.
He stated that the County government would use all available means to engage all partners including National government support so that a long lasting peace can be realized in the region .
Kapoeta state Governor Louis Lobong decried that the region has failed to realize any meaningful development because of past cases of cattle rustling. He noted that the traditional rites that required payment of dowry through cattles fueled conflict that mostly involved youths.
He challenged youth to take lead role on sensitising other members of the community on the importance of coexisting peacefully.
On her part, County Executive for Trade Jenipher Nawoi said that professionals from the region have a say towards shaping development of the region since they are knowledgeable. She called for support of girl child education that she said had for a long time been ignored in the region because of the traditional belief that kept girls away from community important decision making process.
Uganda state minister for mineral and natural resources Peter Lokeris blames the Colonial government for creating the buffer zones that he stated separated the Ateker community and escalated conflict .
The leaders were speaking in Kapoeta state in South Sudan during a four day cultural event that was hosted by Ateker foundation which brought together members of the Ateker community from Nyangatom, Ethiopia, Turkana , Teso from Kenya, Karamojong from Uganda and the host Toposa of South Sudan.
Other partners present were SAPCONE represented by Humphrey Amoni.
Also present were County deputy director for Culture Titus Lokorikeju, Principal Administrator Bernard Lennon and a host of delegates from the neighbouring countries.
The following were the recommendations concluded during the Ateker dialogue in Kapoeta State, South Sudan:
- Peace and unity among the Ateker community should start from the Kraaals and its leaders – Ateker community from the bordering countries to take charge by talking to their communities and mobilize peace meetings through the Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia and South Sudan Governments and partner with peace involving NGOs in the process.
- To promote culture and cultural festivals through Ateker foundation, this will inform the Ateker communities that their rich culture and one speaking language is a form of unity.
- Through trade among the four countries, Ateker communities will strengthen their coexistence by opening up trade routes in exchange of goods and services. During hunger food surplus will be easily reach other Ateker communities when borders lines have peace. This will improve trade
- One health program for animals and human to be carried for both communities by having a memorandum of understanding between countries
- Water and pasture as a common resource in all Ateker communities that brings conflict, the government of Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia should build large dams to the borders and draft an agreement of sharing water and pasture. Example in Uganda we have Kobebe dam that is shared by the Karamoja and Turkana.
- The government of Kenya and South Sudan should disarm the Ateker communities at the border and give them alternative way of livelihood.
- The Ateker communities’ parents and guardians should take children to school so as to reduce ignorance as they grow. This will support development of infrastructure and business due to government construction of schools, health facilities for the communities.
- The Ateker communities should grow various food crops to sort out malnutrition and ensure food secure to Ateker Communities.
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